Since making his Major League debut on June 8th Jameson Taillon has done nothing but turn in one strong start after another for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
For a long time Pittsburgh Pirate fans could not wait for the arrival of Jameson Taillon in the Major Leagues. On June 8th of this year fans got what they had long been waiting for. And so far, Taillon has not disappointed.
In fact, Taillon has been even better than anyone could have expected thus far. Jameson Taillon is just 83 innings into his Major League career but he already looks like an ace in the making. A starting rotation with a one-two punch of Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon for, at least, the next three seasons is going to give the Pirates’ one of the National League’s best one-two punches.
Through his first 14 career starts there is nothing that Jameson Taillon has not done well. First off, Taillon has given the Pirates length in his starts. Taillon is averaging six innings per start, and he has gone at least six innings in 11 of his 14 starts. And this includes going eight innings in a trio of his starts.
Jameson Taillon is averaging 7.27 K/9, he’s walking just 1.30 batters per nine innings pitched, he’s allowed just ten home runs, and he has a 1.07 WHIP. So, he has not allowed very many base runners or home runs. If a pitcher keeps both of these numbers low, they are not going to allow many runs.
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Due to not allow many home runs or base runners, Jameson Taillon owns a 3.25 ERA and a 3.61 FIP this season. Taillon’s xFIP is 3.28, which indicates the best is yet to come. Taillon has also done a great job of generating ground balls with a 54.3 percent ground ball rate.
Jameson Taillon’s pitches have shown up at a plus level this season. His fastball is averaging 94.1 miles per hour, and has maxed out at 97 miles per hour. However, his fastball has not been his best pitch. In fact, it has been his third best pitches.
Taillon’s two best pitches this season have been his curveball and his change up. The fact his curveball has been so good should not come as a surprise. This is due to the fact that throughout his Minor League career his curveball was hyped as not just his best pitch, but as one of the best pitches in all of Minor League Baseball.
Opposing batters are hitting just .153 off of Taillon’s curveball this season, and just .143 off of his change up. Against his curveball opposing hitters own a .185 wOBA and a 21 wRC+, against his change up opposing hitters have a .179 wOBA and a wRC+ of 79.
Furthermore, hitters have not been able to generate many extra base hits off either pitch. Against Taillon’s curveball opposing hitters have a .194 slugging percentage and an ISO of .042. Against his change up opposing hitters own a .286 slugging percentage and a .143 ISO.
Honestly, Jameson Taillon’s curveball has the potential to be one of the best pitches in all of Major League Baseball. To go along with the trouble opposing batters have had actually hitting it this season, opposing batters also have an eleven percent swing-and-miss rate against it in 2016. The movement on Taillon’s curveball is also insane.
This season Jameson Taillon has a 1.4 WAR in just 14 starts. This would put him on pace to post a WAR of 3.5 over the course of a full season. And that would have been good for 25th best in the Major Leagues in 2015, and 14th best in the National League. As I said above, there is nothing he has not done well.
Jameson Taillon is well on his way to becoming one of the best starting pitchers in the National League. Finally having a healthy Taillon is a great thing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It will be a lot of fun to see what Taillon can do in his first full Major League season in 2017.
*- Stats and pitch data courtesy of FanGraphs.com.